A GOOD ARMY JOB

This was originally published in The Belle Banner, Belle Missouri September 5th 2018. If you would like to see the current articles as they are published, you may subscribe to The Belle Banner by calling 573-859-3328, or email tcnpub3@gmail.com, or mail to The Belle Banner, PO Box 711, Belle, MO 65013. Subscription rates are; Maries, Osage, and Gasconade County = $23.55 per year, elsewhere in Missouri = $26.77, outside Missouri = $27.00, and foreign countries = $40.00.
A good job in the Army is one that the soldier enjoys. He or she likes to get up in the morning and go to work. A bad job in the Army could be that very same job, but the soldier hates it, what works for some doesn’t work for everyone. I had a lot of different jobs in the Army. Soldiers can’t move around with ease like that now. So anyone considering enlisting should do a lot of research. There are hundreds of testimonials online pro and con about most Army jobs. Read both and consider the language and the manner in which the soldiers presented their story. Having done that, be real honest with yourself. What are your likes and dislikes.
My personal favorite is the infantry. I always went back to the infantry. I’ve walked until I had blood in my boots and strap sores on my shoulders, I’ve been shot at and mortared, I’ve slept in the mud and the snow and waded through swamps, but it was always together with brothers. Everything else in the military supports the infantry, it is the Army. However, if that sounds to you like misery, then you probably wouldn’t like the infantry.
One of the physically easiest jobs in the Army is a solid desk job, and is continually rated high by the people doing it. That is Human Resource Specialist, in the Adjutant Generals Corps. Army MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) 42A. They qualify with their rifle, go through the gas chamber, and take a PT test once a year, and they do PT (Physical Training) every weekday morning just like every other soldier, but their working day is behind that desk and computer. If they go to the field whether they are in a tent or a mobile shelter, they are behind a desk and a computer. If they deploy they rarely go outside the wire, because their job is behind a desk and a computer. If they are airborne they will probably jump once every three months, to keep up jump pay. Promotions are not fast and they are the ultimate POG’s (Person Other than Grunt), but they do get a lot of satisfaction in performing their work, because their job is taking care of soldiers. Every personnel action that affects a soldier is handled by a Human Resource Specialist. In answer to a question from a future enlistee considering 42A, one 42A said this; “You will be at your desk for majority of your time. 9-5s only happen if your shop is on point. There have been times when the whole unit gets released at 1300 (1:00 PM) but we know to head back to the shop because stuff needs to get done before we go home. The latest I’ve worked was 2300 (11:00 PM). Working late usually happens when your shop needs to get its stuff together. Sucks, but it’s necessary. You network a lot being a 42A, whether it’s in your own battalion or around your brigade. If you learn your job, news will travel fast and you will get the respect of guys in your unit. That goes from the joes on the line to the CSM (Command Sergeant Major). Day to day, it’s not bad. You stay busy and learn a great deal about the Army. Of course you’ll have crappy days, but what job doesn’t have those? One piece of advice that I’ll share with a future 42A – No matter what you’re working on, take care of the Soldiers and treat their paperwork as your own. To you, it’ll just be another action, promotion, leave form or whatever. It’s just another piece of paper in your stack of stuff to do for the day, but that piece of paper might be the whole world to the Soldier at the time. That promotion they’ve been waiting on for months, the leave form to fly home to see their family or the packet to get their family overseas with them. Complete your mission so these guys can focus on their mission.”
MOS 42A Human Resource Specialist encompasses a large area. The Army used to have an MOS for Personnel Specialist, one for Administrative Specialist, and one for Postal Specialist. They were all consolidated into 42A. To be qualified to work in an actual Army Post Office, there is an additional five week school after AIT, for those who want to go that route. MOS 42A requires a Secret Security Clearance, you will be investigated, so reveal everything, even a minor parking ticket. The ASVAB scores required to get this job are not high, but I personally think that they should be higher. To qualify for 42A, ASVAB scores of 100 in General Technical (GT) and 90 in Clerical (CL) are required. GT is Verbal Expression and Arithmetic Reasoning, CL is also Verbal Expression and Arithmetic Reasoning, plus Mathematics Knowledge. In other words – English (Language Arts) and math. If your ASVAB GT and CL scores are not at least 120 you may want to consider another job. This job may not appear to be a brainy job, but it is. The Army Regulations that governs and guides the work that 42A’s perform are several feet thick, when in print. Army Regulation (AR) 614-200 on enlisted personnel management is about 3 inches thick, AR 635-200 on enlisted separations is about the same. I once knew a man who could quote paragraph for paragraph from either. He made Master Sergeant E8 in eight years, can’t be done today.
The AIT (Advanced Individual Training) for MOS 42A is nine weeks long at the Soldier Support Institute at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Summers are just as hot in South Carolina as in Missouri, but the winters are not nearly as cold. The AIT is not that strict. The dorms are three people to a room with one double bunk and one single, three desks, three closets and a bath/shower. Class is Monday through Friday. A typical day is 5:00 AM wake up, clean area, PT at 6:30 then shower, get dressed and breakfast and be in formation at 8:45. March to class, lunch is in a nearby DFAC (Dining Facility) and released at 5:00 PM. They keep cell phones, ipads, computers, etc just not during duty hours. Civilian clothes when off duty. During the eight weeks and two days of the course, six weeks are spent in class and two weeks in the field. The study includes; Researching Human Resource Publications; Prepare Office Documents Using Office Software; Prepare Correspondence, Identify Human Resource Systems; Maintain Records; Interpret the Enlisted Record Brief & Officer Record Brief; Create Ad Hoc Query; Perform Forms Content Management Program Functions; Prepare Suspension of Favorable Action; Prepare a request for Soldier Applications; Process a DFR (Dropped from the rolls) packet; Process Recommendation for Award; Process Personnel Strength Accountability Updates; Perform Unit Strength Reconciliation; Conduct a Personnel Asset Inventory (PAI); Issue a Common Access Card; Maintain Emergency Notification Data; Prepare a Casualty Report; Create a Manifest; Employ the Deployed Theater Accountability Software (DTAS); Prepare strength accounting reports; Process a Request for Leave, Pass, and Permissive TDY; Perform Personnel Office Computations; Review a Completed Officer and Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report (NCOER); Process Enlisted Advancements for PV1 – SPC; Process Semi-Centralized Promotions; Research Finance Actions; Determine Entitlements to Pay and Allowances; and Employ the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) System.
Army Human Resource Specialists are literally on every US Army post in the world, so they can be assigned anywhere in any type of unit. I always push going airborne, jumping out of airplanes, it’s a blast. Plus enlisting as a 42A with the airborne option, will put that person in an airborne unit, probably in a battalion headquarters, the lowest level at which 42A’s are used. Those are the best units in the Army, the best leaders and the highest morale, plus that is where Human Resource Specialists really learn their job. They deal with soldiers face to face on a daily basis, it pays to be a people person. In the S1 (Administration) Section of a battalion is an Adjutant Generals Corps Captain, and a 42A Sergeant First Class NCOIC (Non-commissioned Officer in charge), plus a Staff Sergeant, two Sergeants, a Specialist, and three Privates First Class. So, for the new enlistee who happens to be in the 17 percent of enlistees who will retire from the Army 20 years later, that is where he or she would want to start.

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